10 Keys to a Happy Life

Joy Key Shows Fun Or Happinessby Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Bible talks a lot about joy. You can’t read the Bible very long without realizing God wants us find our happiness in Him. John Piper says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. That’s the real key to a happy life, to be satisfied in God. Here are a couple of verses that show this.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Here are 10 keys to having a happy and fulfilled life. They are not the only ones. You can find the rest in the Bible.

10. Don’t worry so much. Most of what we worry about never happens.

9. Remember failure is an event, not a person.

8. Knowing Jesus is more important than knowing about Jesus.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of God7. Remember that the story of your life is not about you. It’s about God in you.

6. Our lives become significant by how we serve and bless others.

5. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep and gain what he can not lose.” Jim Elliot. In other words, if we don’t have anything worth dying for, we don’t have anything worth living for.

4. Stay true to the Word of God while loving others liberally. That means you love others enough to tell them the truth. The truth is that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

3. God’s opinion is the only one that counts.

2. We find our greatest joy by abiding in Christ and yielding to the will of God.

1. A life without God at the center is a miserable, wasted life.

So, can you think of any I missed. Leave a comment.

Friday 13th: What It Means for Christians

by Carole Brownfriday-the-13th-free

What do we know about Friday 13th?

  • Friday the 13th occurs from one to three times per year when the 13th day of any month falls on a Friday.
  • The fear of Friday the 13th is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a word derived from the Greek wordsParaskeví (Friday) and dekatreís (thirteen), attached to phobia (fear).
  • Some people are bound by paraskevidkatriaphobia that they avoid activities even their normal, everyday ones. They refuse to travel and seek to remain as “unnoticed” as possible. 

Theories about Friday 13th’s beginnings:

  • The Last Supper with the twelve disciples and Jesus making the “thirteenth” person: he was crucified and killed that day.
  • Frigga, a goddess, who was banished when Christianity entered the country.
  • French King Phillip IV ordered the death of all the monastery military order Knights Templar when they amassed too much wealth and power.

What should Christians choose to do?fear-free

Friday 13th is a superstition, built in and around FEAR. There are two types of fear. Fear of the Lord, which in the perfect sense means to stand in awe of. The second type of fear is a “spirit of fear” which is a detriment and should be overcome. 

As such, Christians need to look to the Bible for guidance:

 

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Encouraging Scriptures for the Christians:

  • Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Isaiah 41:10.
  • Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than the sparrows.” Matthew 41:10
  • In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11

There are many more scriptures in the Bible that encourage us to trust, to realize we’re not alone, that God understands our fear of destitution and weaknesses. There is power and strength in the scriptures. Keep our eyes fixed on them and on God.  

A Season to Not Forget

by Carole Brown

During this season, most of us are blest beyond measure, if not in wealth, then in many other ways. Christmas is over, and the new year is rapidly approaching. Let us resolve in our hearts to remember then forge ahead to better things. Let us not forget:

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  • The lessons we’ve learned in 2016. Many of us have endured hard times, seemingly hopeless times, and discouragement. But through every mile or inch of it, we, as children of God, learned–again–that God did not forsake us. That he had our backs. That we were made stronger by trusting God, by clinging to his promises and believing all things work together for our good. Hard lessons sometimes? Yes, but valuable and strengthening!

 

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  • Let us  not forget to be true to our values. Regardless of what is being taught today–being your own god, do what feels good, etc.–manners, beliefs and values never go out of style. Kindness, charity, forgiveness, loyalty, faithfulness; these are important items that should always be popular, if not by the majority, then by those who wish to step a little higher, be a better person.

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  • Let us not forget to be positive. In all things, look for the good side. In stressful times, try to step back, take a deep breath or a few minutes to relax and think about what truly is important, then begin again. If we fail by speaking harshly or out-of-turn, then do our best to ask forgiveness and resolve to guard our tongues in the future. For every situation, look for the good in it. For every event, resolve to benefit from it. 

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  • Let us not forget to look Up! Our redemption draws near as every day passes, and Christ will soon return. Keep your eyes fixed on the skies. WE don’t know the hour nor the day, but it will happen, and we need to be ready and waiting on his return.

Many wonderful blessings wished for you in 2017!

A Season to Praise God

by Carole Brown

During this holiday season, when so much of our attention is on the commercialism of the day, let us direct our attention to the real reason we celebrate this time of the year. Let us follow our Lord’s example in word, action and deed by praising our God. Here are a few thoughts, and I’m sure you can add to this list. 

 

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  • With our voices. Sing aloud to our God. Show him we love him by letting the adoration we feel pour from the very depths of our souls. Shout aloud our praises.

 

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  • With our actions.Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” By doing so with a heart full of love for God, we show him our sincerity and love for him. Labor for the church. Witness. Be kind. Turn the other cheek. Pray without ceasing. Do good to those who hurt us. Hard? Yes, but not for God, and if he does indeed live inside us, then we are strong through him. Amen.

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  • For victory! Praise him this year, this season for what he has brought us through in 2016. Praise him that we have yet another opportunity to enjoy this month, to share with others the blessings he’s given us, the lessons we’ve learned, the battles we’ve fought and won, and to rejoice in all that. “Yea, we are more than conquerors!”

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  • For Christianity. Praise God for sending his only begotten Son to earth to be a Savior for mankind. Who else could love humans but a Supreme Being so fully, so deeply, so extensively but the God of heaven?  “For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten so, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

 

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  • For a future. Bleak days may be before us, but we have an assurance. We have a hope, an eternal home awaiting for us. We have a captain who is strong and wise and experienced and knowledgeable. What awaits for us in 2017, and even further down the years, whether good or bad, sad or happy, we know without a doubt that God is able and will provide the strength we need to see us through. As the old song goes, “We’re just passing through.” and scripture says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you…

Many wonderful seasons of praise wished for you today. Merry Christmas!

Do You Really Want Revival?

Flaming Cross Christian ArtWe hear it all the time. “A revival is coming to America.” “We are praying for revival.” “Only revival will save America.” Everywhere you look, there are prophecies about the coming revival. But sometimes I wonder if most American Christians really want revival, or if they just want a religious experience that makes the feel good.

American Christians are comfortable. Even the poorest American is richer and safer than most people in the world. True revival would make them uncomfortable. True revival will mess you up.It will challenge you. It will change your perspective and your life. It will humble you when God moves on you in unexpected ways. It will explode your theology and understanding. It will put you at odds with the culture – even the modern Christian pop culture. So the question is do we really want revival? Here are some of the ways revival manifested itself in the book of Acts and throughout history.

Praying African Americn boyIntense unified prayer proceeds a move of God. In Acts 2:1, the disciples were all praying in one place and one accord. Before the First Great Awakening, the Moravians started a prayer meeting in 1727 that lasted one hundred years. The Great Awakening was said to be in its greatest intensity between 1727 and 1757. If we truly want revival, we will pray for a spirit of revival prayer to sweep through the church.

Man in waterSigns and Wonders Accompany Revival. This is hard for some to accept. When revival comes, it is messy. God moves in strange and unusual ways. I’ve heard some say the Holy Spirit is not weird. That doesn’t ring true when we look at historical results of revival.

Acts 2:2-3 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The early Christian revival in Acts wasn’t the only one that had strange signs and wonders accompany it. Trypho said in the second century, “For the prophetical gifts remain with us even to the present time.”  Sarah Edwards, wife of Great Awakening preacher Jonathan Edwards described an experience that incapacitated her for days which she described as “being swallowed up in God.” In the Cane Ridge revival in 1801, it was described this way. “20,000 people swirled about the grounds—watching, praying, preaching, weeping, groaning, falling. Though some stood at the edges and mocked, most left marveling at the wondrous hand of God.”

Laughing, crying, being slain in the Spirit, groaning, and other manifestations make make the modern church uncomfortable. Many have scorned Christians and churches where unusual signs and wonders occur, but if we truly want revival, we’ll have to accept the unusual and jump into the river of God.

Generosity and Self-Sacrifice accompany revival. Acts 2:45 says, “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” In the Moravian revival, two men were willing to sell themselves in slavery to share the Gospel.

Cute african girlA spirit of holiness and repentance is always present in revival. In the book of Acts, Peter preached, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.” Ananias and Sapphira were killed by God for lying to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19, new Christians brought their occult materials and burned them.

Throughout history repentance and holiness have also been a major part. During the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards preached Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and people held on to the church posts in fear of the judgement of God. During the Jesus revival in the 1970s, young men and women brought their drug to the altar and left them there. During the Welsh Revival, Reverend Hertford said this.

“I found the poor children whom Mr. A kept at school were increased to about thirty boys and girls. I went in immediately to the girls. As soon as I began to speak, some of them burst into tears, and their emotion rose higher and higher. But it was kept within bounds until I began to pray. A cry then arose, which spread from one to another, till almost all cried aloud for mercy, and would not be comforted.”

True revival will cause us to speak out about the sins of our culture and grieve over our own sins.

Earth SunriseMissions and evangelism accompany revival. 3,000 were saved on the day of Pentecost. People accused the disciples of “turning the world upside down”. The Moravian movement sent out 300 missionaries and started the modern missionary movement. Charles Finney, during the Second Great Awakening, was president of Oberlin College when it sent missionaries all over the world.

If we really want God to move, we will yield to whatever God wants to do. Revival will mess up our church structure and services. It will change our lives and cause us to be willing to obey God no matter how it makes us look to others in the Christian world. God is too big to fit in your comfortable revival box. Let God move the way He chooses and let the River of God overflow.

If Life Was Just a Rose, But It Isn’t

by Carole Brown

Five Tips to Live Happily When Your Life’s Rose Has Thorns

If Life Were a Rose
by John Roxell
If life were a rose would I smell it?
Or would the fear of the bee’s sting hold me back?
If life were a rose would I take pleasure in its lucid color?
Or would the brevity of its glow cloud its sunshine?
If life were a rose would I marvel at its delicate changing form?
Or would the falling of its petals bury the moment of its triumph?
If life were a rose would I pick the frail flower to be my own?
Or would the thorns create a barrier causing me to leave it behind?
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If life were a rose.
1.  We don’t always take advantage of the opportunities that are given us. But don’t despair. Follow your instincts, ask advice from trustworthy friends and family. Seek God’s face for His will for each one that is offered. That is the perfect solution for knowing which opportunity to accept.
2.  Life is full of bee stings. That’s a fact. Deaths, disappointments, rejections, bees-freesetbacks, illness, loss-nothing is perfect in life. But remember, we’re humans, and most, find some way to go on living. Take joy in your overcoming experiences. Take heart that you have another chance, another day. Refuse to allow sad and hurtful things get you down. None of these disappointments will last forever–except the loss of a loved one, but even in that, we know we can see them again someday.
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3.  Take time to enjoy the world about you. Laugh and play with children. Take a stroll around town, in the country, in the park or by a lake. Watch the sunrise some early morning, or tell someone you love them. Dance in the rain. Thrill at the sight of blue lightning streaking through the dark clouds. Smile at a checkout person. Go see an older, lonely person. Love a pet. Call someone. Mainly, enjoy life. Enjoy the day God’s given you.
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4.  Realize that nothing stays the same forever. We get older and older, then old. Sickness comes. Death comes. We lose jobs. We have to move. Expenses come that take that saved-back money. We don’t always get what we want, but isn’t that good–in some ways? How else can we learn to trust God? Has God a better plan for us that we can’t see at the time? Learning to leave it all in God’s hands is hard, but necessary if we are to be as a trusting child, knowing God will take care of us. Learn it!
  1. Don’t shun the small things. So what he didn’t get you a huge bunch of flowers! That
    bouquet of wild ones, meant he took time to go daisies-chamomile-freeinto the fields or alongside the country roads to hand-pick them for you. You didn’t get a big birthday cake? But your favorite grandchild gave you a hand drawn card with all the love his/her little heart could put into it. Don’t always expect the “big” things when the small ones are so much more precious.  Appreciate each gift you’re given!

 

Wishing you a happy, happy day–today! 

Guest Author Denise Weimer – Finding Our God Given Purpose in Life

deniseDenise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. A former magazine writer, she is the author of romantic novella REDEEMING GRACE, The Georgia Gold Series (SAUTEE SHADOWS, THE GRAY DIVIDE, THE CRIMSON BLOOM, and BRIGHT AS GOLD – winner of the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for outstanding Southern literature) and The Restoration Trilogy (WHITE, WIDOW and WITCH). Denise is a wife and swim mom of two daughters who always pauses for old houses, coffee and chocolate!

Finding Our God Given Purpose in Life

by Denise Weimer

Man walking on BibleEveryone wants to know their life has meaning and purpose, and as Christians we can take that a step further. We want that meaning and purpose to be for God. Ephesians 2:10 promises us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” I believe these “good works” extend beyond acts of service and Christian charity to God’s unique calling on each of our lives.

In my new Restoration Trilogy, historic preservation graduate Jennifer Rushmore always pictured her dream job as working for a big firm in Savannah. The insecurities stemming from a painful past make her more comfortable on-site or behind a desk. But when she accepts the stop-gap assignment of restoring brooding bachelor Michael Johnson’s historic doctors’ house, apothecary shop and log cabin, her fascination with the local community of Hermon takes her by surprise. “Mental visions” of what the once-thriving railroad town could be like if brought back to life with the right flair nudge Jennifer to share her ideas with local artisans and officials. Before she knows it, she’s garnered a job offer as a Main Street manager – one that would push her right out of her comfort zone behind the scenes, into fund-raising and publicity. And into the county’s heart!

God uses Jennifer’s developing friendships and community involvement as two steps in a process of a spiritual restoration, guiding her toward becoming the best Jennifer she can be. Gradually, He unfolds His plan for her life. When Jennifer expresses her uncertainty about the Main Street position to Michael in my newest release, Widow (book two), he tells her, “When your heart’s in something, your enthusiasm makes what’s otherwise hard easy.”

So what about us? How do we recognize God’s calling for our lives? Let me offer a few observations along those lines:

  • It’s often said you can find God’s will at the juncture of your passions, talents and a need or void.
  • A sign that you might have arrived at that juncture of passion, talent and need is when you’re the person who can see something coming out of nothing … that new business idea, invention, ministry, song, etc. How beautiful that God allows us to mirror Him in creative process.
  • We tend to assume a lot about this dream of ours: with whom, when, how or where the big “it” will happen. But expect surprises. God loves to put us in situations and with people that stretch us. So mind your “nevers.” Once, as part of a lovely, three-year character stretching exercise, I ended up doing three types of jobs I said I’d “never” do! I still laugh at how terribly awkward I was, but I think God just wanted me to know that with Him, I could do all things! And, each of those jobs uniquely prepared me for what came next.

By all means, I hope you’ll read about Jennifer’s restoration journey in White, Widow and Witch. But even more, if you’re uncertain about your life purpose, I hope you’ll tell God you want to find that perfect juncture of His will for you! That’s when the really exciting chapter begins.

The Restoration Trilogy: When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (WHITE), apothecary (WIDOW) and log cabin (WITCH) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.

denise2WIDOW: Jennifer Rushmore has overseen the restoration of Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ doctor’s house long enough to work through their initial differences. Now the apothecary shop discloses a heart-breaking tale circa 1870 Georgia, shaking loose Jennifer’s own carefully suppressed past. She fears that when Michael sees beyond her façade, her tentative steps toward trust and love may disintegrate into rubble. On her journey to forgiveness, Jennifer draws on her new faith and friendships, even as the mysterious accidents clouding her first preservation job escalate into imminent danger.

WHITE: http://www.amazon.com/White-Restoration-Trilogy-Book-One/dp/0990841685/

WIDOW: https://www.amazon.com/Widow-Restoration-Trilogy-Denise-Weimer/dp/0997011939/